Credit: Options/Nepal

Sexual and reproductive health

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services save lives. Yet millions globally still do not have access to the contraceptive, abortion, STI/HIV prevention and treatment, and other related services that they need and want. Bringing new contraceptive technologies to markets where women can easily access them increases their use and means women can choose when they have children and how many they have. Moreover, expanding coverage of effective HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services can reduce the spread of HIV and mitigate the impact of AIDS on the lives of the most vulnerable.

We support better SRH services through:

  • Research to understand people’s experiences of SRH, particularly those who are hard reach due to their social class, culture, ethnicity or behaviours
  • Evidence-based solutions to improve service use amongst those who find accessing services difficult or shameful
  • Advocacy and behaviour change communications
  • Strengthening delivery and coverage of services
  • Accountability of service providers, health and government leaders for the delivery of high quality services for all.

In Pakistan, we work in partnership with Marie Stopes International to increase women’s access to SRH services. Rapid qualitative research using PEER (Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research) identifies barriers to services for women and men. This can then inform the development of practical solutions. We led the design of voucher programmes to reach families in more remote areas and provide access to much-needed reliable long-term contraception.

In India, women have limited choice over the contraceptive methods available to them and their needs are often unmet. Options undertook a market assessment to evaluate the potential demand for an effective and affordable hormonal intrauterine device (IUD).

In Nigeria, we have been working to reduce the spread of HIV, to mitigate the impact of AIDS and to improve access to condoms in rural communities. We have supported better coordination and the accountability of national and district level institutions in their ability to use data to effectively coordinate and plan the most cost-effective HIV/AIDS interventions in eight states. We delivered training and supported state operational planning for resource mobilisation. 

In Cambodia, we worked alongside the Government’s Health Sector Support Programme to improve maternal survival rates. This included the development and delivery of the Reducing Maternal Mortality Project – designed to upgrade and renovate facilities to minimum operating standards and support the development of curricula, protocols, training and equipment for providers.


In Pakistan, the contraceptive prevalence rate increased in programme areas from 27% to 48% after 1.5 years

In the same period, the contraceptive prevalence increased in Results for Health programme areas by 77% compared to 7% in control areas

Condom use in rural areas has increased from 50% to 65% in Nigeria, and HIV prevalence amongst young men has dropped by 25%

Our experts

  • Alison Dembo Rath
    Alison Dembo Rath leads Options’ health systems work, with a particular focus on South Asia. She has over 20 years’ experience in design, management, monitoring and evaluation of health systems development programmes at policy and implementation levels. Building on her early career in nursing in the UK, Alison has particular expertise in delivering quality maternal and newborn health care services. Alison has experience of working across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, managing DFID-funded maternal health and health sector programmes in India and Nepal.
  • Kirstan Hawkins, PhD
    Kirstan Hawkins is responsible for developing and supporting Options' programmes, and ensuring the quality of technical inputs for our social change communications programmes. She is a leading expert in the design and implementation of health sector programmes, with expertise in sexual and reproductive health, maternal health and health systems strengthening. Previously based at Swansea University, Kirstan developed the PEER (Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research) approach, an innovative research methodology that trains community-based researchers to access critical behavioural information from their peer groups.
  • Rachel Grellier
    Rachel Grellier is a senior gender and social inclusion specialist with extensive experience in the areas of maternal health, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender, and voice and accountability. Rachel has led evaluation and impact assessments, and is experienced in using a wide variety of approaches to gain insights into patients’, communities’, service providers’ and governments’ perspectives on health programmes. She is a PEER (Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research) specialist, having led and supervised studies in Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Uganda, Rwanda, Papua New Guinea and India.
  • Sara Nam, PhD
    Sara Nam is a public health professional with close to 20 years’ experience providing technical assistance to and implementing health programmes and conducting research and programme evaluations. Sara is a qualified midwife, bringing technical expertise in the design and delivery of maternal and newborn health services, health planning and management, strengthening human resources and improving quality of care. Sara has supported health programmes in a variety of development and emergency situations and fragile states, most recently in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak.
  • Eleanor Brown
    Eleanor Brown is a technical specialist in policy and research in sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Eleanor is a trained anthropologist with over 15 years’ experience in policy analysis, research and using evidence for advocacy and health planning. She is experienced in use of qualitative and quantitative research methods, in particular methods to work with marginalised groups, including PEER (Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research). Eleanor has led international studies on women’s, men’s and young people’s access to SRH services, designing responses to overcome barriers to care.
  • Dr Maureen Dar Iang
    Dr Maureen Dar Iang has over 20 years experience in the planning and delivery of maternal and newborn, reproductive and child health programmes. She has played a key role in strengthening district health systems in Nepal, building capacity of service providers, and supporting national policy discussions on safe motherhood and family planning. She is coordinating our support to recovery of essential health care services in earthquake affected districts.

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Established in 1992, Options has worked in over 50 countries. We lead and manage health sector programmes on behalf of international donors and national governments.
Established in 1992, Options has worked in over 50 countries. We lead and manage health sector programmes on behalf of international donors and national governments.

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